A Day In The Life

by SOS Algarve Animals on March 26, 2012

Friday 4th November, 2011

of a volunteer for SOS Algarve Animals..

After more than a week being overloaded with many abandoned dogs and animal related issues, I finally have a day off.. to show my visitor from Holland more of the Algarve than the roads to the veterinary clinics in the Almancil area. So, despite the rain, we leave the house towards Vila Real do San Antonio, Castro Marim, Alcoutim, looking forward to a dog free day…

We are hardly 10 minutes away from our house, where we see an anbadoned dog in the pouring rain..walking up to cars in the road. I pull over and take some dogfood, but that is the last thing this dog has on his mind. As soon as I get out of the car, he comes running up wagging his tail…and tries to jump into the car, front seat, behind the steering wheel.. He is in an atrociousl state, skin and bone, and with a skin problem or sarna….but despite his condition, he is the most friendly and outgoing dog I have run into in a long time.. He just wags his tail. We put a lead on him and coach him towards the back of the car. I lift him  in, and he just wags his tail..endlessly..he smelly, really badly. I call one of our vets, and after some talks, we are on our way to the vet, instead of Castro Marim…

Upon arrival we immediately weigh him and he is 27 kilo..sounds a nice weight, but he is a Serra de Estrela, and looking at him, he should weigh at least 40 kilo’s…and he just wags his tail.. My first thought, looking at his teeth before lifting him in the car was, that he was an older dog, approx 6 years old. But I told the vet I was not sure about his teeth, something did not match.
When we go in with the vet, his temperature is taken, an overall checkup being done, and blood is taken for testing on heartworm, leishmaniose and a microscope analysis on tickfever. The leish test is negative, there is microfilaria in his blood, and there are some heartworm, stage 1…and he has sarcoptic mange..Devastating news…what a combination…
We check his teeth again, and his molers are without any tar and in extremely good condition, like young dogs’molers but his front teeth are completely worn, there is nothing left. There are some possibilities, and the most likely one is that he has lived as chained up dog, chewing either his chain or rocks.. He is being aged at maximum two years old.
Some calls are being made, as to what to do with him, he will be contagious for a month with his sarcoptic mange. He will need to be isolated from the other dogs for some time..We manage to find a solution for our problem, and this always his tail wagging dog is being named, Kwispel. Which is Dutch for wagging tail..

More than one hour behind on our initial schedule, we finally set off for Castro Marim, Alcoutim, and Odeleite, quite a nice trip. When we arrive in Odeleite around 15.00 hours, we do some shopping and get ready for a small beer. Everything is ordered, and I walk outside, when I see a dog approaching, slightly weary, but she hangs around and does not run off. I ask the owner if he knows the dog, and he says that it is not a dog from here, the dog has been abandoned in the village early in the week. The dogfood come out again, and I sit down on the pavement, show her the food, and she comes immediately, wagging her tail. She is wearing an old sort of home made collar out of a piece of plastic and a piece of chain, it is pretty tight around her neck, but not grown in. She seems very young, and in fairly good shape, apart from being underweight. We put a lead on her collar and she is being lifted into the back of the car..quite happily she sits in the back of the car. The owner of the cafe is happy that we offer to take and help her, and off we go again, with yet again an abandoned dog in the car…another Serra de Estrela…a female this time.

She travels really well in the car, and she accompanies us on the rest of our journey, into Castro Marim, Tavira, and Moncarapacho. This last stop is where I call our vets once again, and one of them is absolutely overloaded. Which I actually knew, as I found a large podenco male earlier this week, which I managed to catch and brought into this clinic. So I try the other clinic again, where after some talk she can stay until tomorrow. I am already happy with this outcome, and we set off for Almancil. Upon arrival, we have to wait a little while and the newly found dog is very happy to be around people. When we go in for the check up and the bloodtesting she is all over us, and can not believe her luck, and wags her tail continuously. She seems to be a young dog, she is not fully grown, and looking at her teeth, we think she is around 9 – 10 months, and put her date of birth on 1 February 2011. She is skinny, but not terribly. She tests negative for leish and heartworm. The only issue I have with her, is her backlegs, the way she stands, could indicate hipdisplaesia, a manual test confirms my thoughts, there is too much space in her joint, however, she has no signs of pain when there is the manual testing to her hips and legs. She is named Lavinia and will stay overnight at the vet. If all is well she will be spayed tomorrow…


Two dogs in one day, actually two dogs in less than 12 hours, and more amazingly, both are Serra de Estrela´s…wagging their tails continuously. It has been a busy week, with this week in total three dogs, which I found on the road on my path wherever I was heading.
Am I dog magnet. No I am not, the last dog I picked up was in April 2011, that was Eva, the pregnant Vale de Eguas female…. However it seems to be the time of year where people en masse abandon their dogs… Please realise that dogs are for life, not for Christmas…

Monday 14th November, 2011

Today I took both Lavinia & Kwispel to the vet for a check up. Kwispel doesn’t seem to be gaining any weight, despite all the efforts. Because of his awful physical condition he was first fed with low protein food, when his body did not seem to absorb any of the much needed nutrients, he was put on salmon & rice. When Kwispel was found on 04/11/2011 he weighed 27.8 kg, today he weighed in at 30 kilo’s, to my utter but foremost pleasant surprise. The vet was actually quite pleased with the way he is looking now, his hair is already growing back, his gum is still too pale, but not as pale when he was brought in. Hopefully he will keep up the good spirits he is in helping him on his journey ahead to a full recovery. Looking at him now, you start to realize how underweight he truly is, it is because of his hair that he looks fairly ok, but if you touch him, you realize how malnourished he is. He should weigh around 45/50 kilos when he is back to normal shape & form again..Despite his condition, he is a wonderful dog, so friendly to both people & dogs. He is a true gentle giant, who out of affection will put his mouth gently around your hand, afraid of being left again…
Who has ever allowed him to be in this atrocious state in the first place..this person should be treated the same way… I have no words for this..

Lavinia is doing so well, and has the most affectionate & gentle personality one can only imagine. She is another true gentle giant, & loves people and other dogs.. When Lavinia was found, she weighed in at 24 kilo’s, she was skinny and lost… Today she weighed just over 28 kilo’s and is in a much better overall condition. Lavinia walks off lead since day one, she is very people oriented and knew her name since day 1, and comes back immediately when called….she just loves to be with her ‘people’.  She is an amazing social and stable dog, who would fit in a family situation perfectly. She has slight indication of hipdisplaesia, which is quite common in dogs her size, with proper walking & exercising the build up of muscles on her backlegs, should allow her to grow old without problems and pain. Walking stairs f.e. should be avoided at all times..